AMAC Exclusive – By Andrew Abbott
November 2021 may very well be remembered as the month that “Defund the Police” and “Woke Justice” finally collapsed. In a string of major reversals, city legislatures and progressive prosecutors are desperately attempting to re-fund police departments they defunded, prosecute criminals for crimes they previously refused to charge, and hire police officers after forcing thousands to quit. The stunning turnaround for some of the most liberal politicians in America is no doubt in response to the wave of murders, carjackings, and mass looting that has overtaken multiple cities.
For several decades, progressive activists and radical college professors have been pushing for a “reimagining” of law enforcement and the criminal justice system. One of the main aims of such a reimagining includes “decarceration,” sometimes referred to as “woke justice.” In short, it involves the forced reduction of the prison population – even if that means letting violent criminals back out onto the streets.
The crux of the argument in favor of decarceration is that crime is the direct result of poverty and inequality, which are in turn completely caused by structural racism. According to this theory, police officers and prisons only make this problem worse, and are themselves racist institutions that must be abolished or “reimagined.” Criminals, then, are the “real” victims when a crime occurs. The solution? Letting vast swaths of convicts out of prison, refusing to press charges for “smaller” offenses (like shoplifting, arson, and even sexual assault) and cutting funding to police, all while expanding funding for social programs to supposedly eliminate crime. The theory was largely contained to academic spheres until it suddenly burst onto the national scene during the widespread riots in 2020.
But just how did such a fringe theory suddenly become the predominant view of the mainstream political Left? Americans largely have one man to thank: billionaire progressive donor and activist George Soros.
As previously reported, starting in 2016, Soros began an aggressive campaign to pour millions into state District Attorney elections. He was generally successful, with his selected DA’s winning control of districts that contained as many as 50 million Americans in total. As DAs and state prosecutors have the ability to negotiate reduced sentences, release accused convicts before their court dates, or simply refuse to hear certain cases, they wield incredible power over the social and judicial fabric of thousands of local communities. These activist prosecutors’ agendas ranged from declining to prosecute drug dealing and prostitution to releasing accused rapists until their court dates. Now, as Americans emerge from the immediate urgency of the pandemic, they have a full view of the damage these prosecutors have wrought.
By far, the most terrifying metric has been the record number of murders in 2020 and 2021. A series of high-profile murders have revealed a direct link between failing to prosecute criminals for serious, but lower level, offenses, which directly enabled those criminals to engage in more severe crimes. In Virginia, an accused rapist, who was released on bond before the trial, murdered the woman accusing him of rape. In Maryland, a career criminal who was placed on home confinement despite a history of breaking home confinement, murdered a mother while she was celebrating her son’s acceptance into the Naval Academy. Most horrifically, in Wisconsin, career felon Darrell Brooks, who pulled a knife on a police officer and was released on $1,000 cash bail (after having a history of jumping bail) intentionally drove his vehicle into a Christmas parade, killing six people and wounding another 48. 18 of his victims were children. All told, as of November, many cities are poised to, or already have marked 2021 as their deadliest year on record.
While many of these prosecutors may feign ignorance as to the results of their policies, their past says otherwise. Take, for instance, Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm, the man responsible for freeing Brooks on $1,000 bond. In 2007, when pressed on his bail reforms, Chisholm said, “Is there going to be an individual I divert, or I put into a treatment program, who’s going to go out and kill somebody? You bet. Guaranteed.” Yet he defiantly stated that those murders would not be evidence that his policy of reducing cash bails and seeking treatment over imprisonment was not sound. To him, the unnecessary murders of the citizens he was sworn to protect were simply necessary sacrifices in order to achieve his ultimate goal of “reimagined” criminal justice. As defenders of Soviet Communism used to say, “You can’t make an omelet without breaking a few eggs.” The prosecutor has yet to clarify whether or not those killed in the Christmas parade were those he imagined would die as a result of his policies.
Soros prosecutors have emboldened criminals who commit lower-level crimes as well. In 2014, San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin announced that he would prosecute thefts below $950 as misdemeanors. In addition, he also announced that he would not prosecute “victimless crimes.” These crimes include “prostitution, open drug use, and drug dealing.” As a result, thievery exploded across the city, causing many stores to close permanently. The end result was felt last week when dozens of looters swarmed Louis Viton stores and other designer shops, stealing tens of thousands of dollars of merchandise. While many have referred to these thievery events as lootings, other experts have actually stressed that they are “organized robberies.” Looting is performed during a state of emergency when supplies are scarce, panic is high, and the stolen goods are largely essential supplies. These raids are organized burglaries with the goal of stealing high-end goods for resale. Though the problem is most evident in San Francisco, it has been felt nationwide.
These lax legal enforcements are all coming at a time in which police departments have been ruthlessly gutted by city councils, with the blessing of Soros’ District Attorneys. In Minneapolis, the heart of the Defund the Police movement, the city council is so desperate for new police officers that they are recruiting cops from other police departments in and out of the state. As Washington, D.C. reels from record-high murder rates, the police are still urging the City Council to reverse the budget cuts that crippled their department and left citizens at the mercy of murderers.
While many cities are reversing course on their radical policies, some only seem to be sinking into a deeper level of insanity. For example, in Seattle, newly hired Police chief Carmen Best, a black woman, successfully enlisted a new class of recruits, 40% of which were minorities – a fact that many hope will help alleviate racial tensions between minority communities and law enforcement. When the city council demanded that the department be reduced in size, Best pointed out that most of the police that would be fired would be the new, diverse, class she just hired. As a solution, a radically progressive council member, a white woman, suggested that the chief only fire white cops. The chief refused to engage in such a racist act and was later forced out of the department. Thus, a white female liberal council member helped push out a black female police chief for refusing to fire police officers for being white.
These failed policies have led many Americans to flee cities that some have called home for generations. In Chicago, black citizens are fleeing the city in record numbers specifically due to the city’s inability to confront and solve violent crime. In California, those who aren’t fleeing to other states are abandoning the coastal cities for inland, more conservative, areas. In New York City, the wealthy are fleeing in record numbers, costing the state billions of dollars.
Perhaps finally wise to the issue, some prosecutors are beginning to pivot. Boudin has announced felony charges against nine suspects involved in the mass robberies of luxury stores. Other progressive legislators are enacting measures to reverse the damage their policies have done. Yet, it may be too little too late. These robberies, murders, and raids have done more than physical damage. They have torn up the very social fabric that all cities rely upon to maintain decency and liberty. It will likely take years if not decades of healing to repair such wounds.
Andrew Abbott is the pen name of a writer and public affairs consultant with over a decade of experience in DC at the intersection of politics and culture.